Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

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Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Landscape Designers and Consultants Rated Highest in Quality?

A custom landscape designed by a landscape consultant.

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a landscape designer and consultant that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified landscape consultant and designer. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated landscaping designer and consultant and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Monterey County – Landscape – Designers & Consultants CATEGORY

Roger Van Alst is president of Black Diamond Paver Stones & Landscape, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (877) 312-4128 or by email.

Roger Van Alst

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Roger Van Alst: Paving a Road to Success

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN JOSE — After graduating from Stetson University with a marketing and business degree, Roger Van Alst began a career that would take him around the world and back again. “After a long time managing home improvement companies in both the United States and Australia, I decided it was time to have my own business and acquired Black Diamond Paver Stones & Landscape in 2004,” he says. “When I was devising my business model, I pulled together the best techniques and ideas I’d encountered from my past experience while disposing of those I didn’t care for. A decade later, Black Diamond has grown from a small mom-and-pop operation to a multimillion-dollar company.”

When asked what drew him to hardscapes over other aspects of home improvement, Roger says it was the unique opportunity to improve people’s lives by enhancing their outdoor environments. “In California, we’re able to use our outdoor living spaces nine months out of the year, so they’re basically an extension of the home. I find that transforming customers’ outdoor environments often enriches their lifestyles, so the impact of our work really goes beyond the physical product.”

Originally from New Jersey, Roger settled in the Bay Area in 2000 following a five-year stint living in Australia. Today, as a resident of San Jose (where he lives with his wife, Tiffany, and son, Samuel), Roger says he appreciates the diversity of the local landscape. “I love being in a location that’s close to the mountains, ocean and city. It’s pretty marvelous that you can be waterskiing one afternoon and snow skiing the next. San Jose is also a neat place to be in business because of all the industry and technology.”

Outside of work, Roger engages in a variety of active pastimes, including skiing and boating. “During the winter, I moonlight as a ski instructor at Squaw Valley, which is something I’ve been doing since high school,” he says. “My family and I also like to go boating and waterskiing at the California Delta.” In addition to these outdoor pursuits, Roger likes collecting antique model trains and vintage cars.

In regard to his professional career, Roger espouses the centrality of customer satisfaction. “One of our mottos is, ‘Never leave a customer behind,’” he explains. “To us, customer satisfaction is no joke, and it’s never OK for a customer to be disappointed with our work, regardless of the circumstances. We’ll spend as much time, money and energy as necessary to make sure the client is happy by the project’s end.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Roger says he’d hit the slopes. “In addition to doing more skiing, I would do instructing on a full-time basis. I’d also like to start mentoring young entrepreneurs to help them succeed in their business endeavors.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Do you consider yourself a dog person or a cat person?
A: A cat person.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Almaden Sushi in Almaden.

Q: What’s your favorite movie genre?
A: Action/adventure.

Q: Who’s your favorite actor?
A: Bruce Willis. My favorite film of his is “The Fifth Element.”

Q: Pancakes or waffles?
A: Pancakes.

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The Benefits of Polymeric Jointing Sand

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SAN JOSE — When installing a paving stone fixture, one option to consider is the application of polymeric jointing sand. Unlike regular jointing sand, this product is instilled with a glue-like substance that goes in dry but is activated by moisture,… Read more

How to Minimize Landscape Water Consumption

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SAN JOSE — Most people don’t realize that the average residential lawn consumes more water than the combined usage of the entire household. That’s why many Californians have decided to remove their thirsty lawns altogether and replace them with more water-wise options.… Read more

The Benefits of Paver Sealing

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SAN JOSE — Whether you have an older paving installation or are putting in a new one, it’s worthwhile to consider the benefits of having it professionally sealed. Since paving stones naturally fade over time, applying a sealer helps preserve their original… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Benefits of Polymeric Sand

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Complete Video Transcription:

SAN JOSE — Host, Sarah Rutan: When installing new pavers, one additional measureworth considering is the application of polymeric sand. Today we’re in San Jose with Diamond Certified… Read more

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

  • Belgard

  • CalStone

  • McNear Brick and Block

Baselite Outdoor Lighting
Calstone Landscape Paving
Hampton Bay Landscape Lighting
Hadco Lighting
McNear Brick & Block
Monrovia Plants
Irritrol Irrigation Systems
FX Luminaire Lighting
Rain Bird Irrigation
Unique Outdoor Lighting
Hunter Irrigation
Toro Landscape Equipment
Kichler Landscape Lighting
Intermatic Landscape Lighting
Kim Lighting
Dixon Landscape Materials
Keystone Retaining Walls
Jain Irrigation Systems
Orbit Irrigation Systems
Netafim Drip Irrigation
DynaSCAPE Landscape Design Software

privacy landscaping design
xeriscape design & consulting
landscape lighting design
yard irrigation & drainage design
backyard landscaping design
front yard landscaping design
commercial landscaping design
residential landscaping design
landscape edging design
pool area landscaping designs
landscape design
new landscape installation consulting
patio landscaping design
hillside landscaping plans
small landscape garden designs
garden landscaping designs
landscaping rock designs
water-efficient landscaping plans
hardscaping / hardscape design
flower garden design
garden plant selection

Aromas
Big Sur
Bitterwater
Blanco
Bolsa Knolls
Boronda
Bradley
Bryson
Cottage Corners
Dunneville
Hollister
Camphora
Cannery Row
Carmel Highlands
Carmel Valley Village
Carmel Valley
Carmel-by-the-Sea
Castroville
Chualar
Coburn
Confederate Corners
Cooper
Del Monte
Del Monte Forest
Del Monte Heights
Del Rey Oaks
East Garrison
Elkhorn
Elsa
Fort Romie
Gabilan Acres
Gonzales
Gorda
Greenfield
Harlem
Jamesburg
Jolon
King City
Las Lomas
Lockwood
Lonoak
Lucia
Marina
Metz
Hudner
Idria
Llanada
Logan
Morse
Millers Ranch
Molus
Monterey
Moss Landing
Nacimiento
Nashua
Natividad
Neponset
New Monterey
Oak Hills
Old Hilltown
Pacific Grove
Pacific Grove Acres
Pajaro
Parkfield
Pebble Beach
Penvir
Plaskett
Pleyto
Paicines
Panoche
Pinnacles
Ridgemark
River Oaks
San Benito
San Juan Bautista
Tres Pinos
Posts
Prunedale
Robles Del Rio
Salinas
San Ardo
San Lucas
Sand City
Santa Rita
Seaside
Soledad
Spence
Spreckels
Spreckels Junction
Sycamore Flat
Tassajara Hot Springs
Valleton
Watsonville Junction
Welby
Wunpost

95023
95024
95043
95045
95045
95075
95004
93920
93426
93922
93923
93921
93924
95012
93925
93926
93927
93928
93930
93932
93933
93940
93942
93943
93944
95039
93950
93953
93901
93902
93905
93906
93907
93908
93912
93915
93450
93954
93955
93960
93962

ANLA American Nursery & Landscape Association (http://www.anla.org/)
APLD Association of Professional Landscape Designers (http://www.apld.org)
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (www.dca.ca.gov)
ELA Ecological Landscaping Association (http://www.ecolandscping.org/)

IA Irrigation Association (www.irrigation.org)
IALE International Association of Landscape Ecology (http://www.landscape-ecology.org/)
LDA Landscape Design Association (www.ldaonline.org)
NLAE Nursery & Landscape Association Executives of North America (http://www.nlae.org/)
PLANET The Professional Landcare Network (www.landcarenetwork.org)
WNLA Western Nursery and Landscape Association (www.wnla.org)

Know What You Want
Questions to ask yourself before hiring a Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designer

The first step in the direction of designing a better landscape for your outdoor space is to understand exactly why you are seeking professional help with your yard. You have to know why you want to change the look of your landscape before a professional landscape designer can begin the process of transformation through a detailed design.

Honesty with yourself about the state of your budget for any outdoor project will also be very helpful in starting a defined search for a Monterey and San Benito CountiesMonterey and San Benito Counties landscape designer. As with any home-improvement project, a budget must be tentative and allow for setbacks or complications, but you must have a number in mind before you begin. To truly be ready to answer the question of “how much,” you will need to clarify what exactly needs to happen with your space, how much of your landscape you are going to tackle and the basic idea of what you want the transformation to look like. You don’t have to do the design (that is why you are hiring a professional), but you do need to have some small idea as to what you are looking for so that you know how to plan, especially when it comes to creating a budget.

In order to help you come up with a tentative plan and budget, take a look at the questions below. If you answer them honestly for yourself, you will be well on your way to beginning the real process of hiring a good landscape designer in Monterey and San Benito Counties, including from any of the cities of Salinas, Monterey, Marina, Greenfield, Gonzales and Hollister 7 Seaside, Soledad, Pacific Grove, King City and Carmel-by-the-Sea and San Juan Bautista.

1.     Do I want a Diamond Certified landscaping designer that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?

2.     Do I want my landscape to grow the value of my property?

3.     Am I looking to make my outdoor space more user-friendly for pets and/or children?

4.     Am I looking to do more in my outdoor space (cooking, entertaining, etc.)?

5.     Do I have any idea what style I am looking for (English garden, new age tranquility, etc.) or do I need professional help with that step as well?

6.     What features am I interested in (water fountains, rock gardens, waterfalls, built-in barbecuing space, etc.)?

7.     What materials do I like (granite, stone, wood, etc.)?

8.     How big of an area (in square feet) am I looking to revamp?

9.     What is the current state of my outdoor space (rough dirt and rock, basic grass, terraced, etc.)?

10.  How much am I willing and/or able to spend on this landscaping project?

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What To Ask In Person
What to ask a Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designer in person

Now that you’ve interviewed a number of Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designers on the phone, it is time to get out into your community, whether you’re in the larger cities of Salinas, Monterey, Marina, Greenfield, Gonzales and Hollister 7  or the smaller towns of Jamesburg, Logan, Plaskett, Sand City and Welby, and visit with some designers in person. This face-to-face interview should provide you with the information you’ll need to hire the landscape designer that you feel most comfortable with and therefore get the best results from.

  1. How do you charge for your designs?
  2. Can I see proof of any professional credentials or association memberships?
  3. May I review your portfolio?
  4. Can you give me at least 10 current references of projects that are similar to the one I’ve described?
  5. Describe in as much detail as possible how you go about understanding my landscaping wishes and needs and synthesizing them into your professional design.
  6. Tell me about your philosophy of landscape and design.
  7. Why should I hire you?
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  • What To Ask References
    What to ask references of Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designers

    The search for a trustworthy landscape designer in Monterey and San Benito Counties can be an arduous process, particularly when you can’t be sure that the one you end up deciding on will give you the best results. There is a way to have confidence in your choice, however. Choose a Diamond Certified Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designer!

    Here’s why it’s best to choose a Diamond Certified landscape designer: because all certified designers have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other professionals can’t pass. If you want quality from a landscape designer in Monterey and San Benito Counties, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified designer. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified landscape designers. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t locate a Diamond Certified landscape designer within reach, you’ll have to do research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your landscape designer. Keep in mind, though, those references provided to you by the designer or his/her company are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    If you do call references on your own, ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

    1. Did this designer provide open and timely communication throughout your project?
    2. Did you feel it was easy to address concerns and questions with this designer?
    3. Did you feel a comfortable level of involvement in the design process? Did you feel as though your thoughts, feelings and ideas were important and validated?
    4. Did this designer keep ahead of delays as much as possible and give good warning if a delay was unavoidable?
    5. Was the design completed within the time frame and your agreed-upon budget?
    6. Were you satisfied?
    7. Would you/have you recommended this designer?
    8. Would you hire this designer again?
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  • Review Your Options
    Fundamental Design: Knowing Your Opinions to Better Share with a Monterey and San Benito Counties Landscape Designer

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Every landscape design begins with a conference between designer and client. In order to get the most out of your initial visit with your chosen Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designer, broadly answer the following questions about your outdoor space and ideas for transformation.

    1. How am I looking to utilize my outdoor space?
    2. What are my goals?
    3. Is there anything about my current space that I would like to leave the same?
    4. What is the architectural style of my home?
    5. Am I planning to make any significant additions to my home or outbuildings?
    6. Which way does my house face? How much sun does the area receive?
    7. Do I know about any water, soil or irrigation issues? What are they?
    8. Do I have some favorite plants or plants that I can’t stand?
    9. What kind of style am I looking for (Zen, groomed, informal or formal, natural, etc.)?
    10. What are my tastes in landscaping as far as color, texture, space, materials, etc. are concerned?
    11. How much maintenance am I willing and/or able to do? Do I like gardening or do I hope a garden will take care of itself?
    12. Do I have adequate outdoor lighting?
    13. Do I have a plan for watering or should a design include a sprinkler system?
    14. Do I plan on working with a contractor for the installation of a design or would I like to implement it myself?
    15. What is the estimated amount I am willing and/or able to spend on design and installation?
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  • How To Work With
    Who Is Questioning Whom? First Interactions with Monterey and San Benito Counties Landscape Designers

    During that first phone call or visit to your Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designer, you will be asking a myriad of questions to attempt to ascertain whether or not you feel you could work comfortably with the individual to come up with a design for your outdoor space. You’ll be making quick judgments about their work experience, their interpersonal communication skills and their philosophy of landscaping. But you also have to remember that the designer will be asking you salient questions that will help him/her to determine whether or not you understand enough about the process to be a client they can help or that they want to take on. They are essentially interviewing you to make sure that neither of you waste your time or resources.

    This does not mean that you have to be nervous to call or visit a landscape designer. On the contrary, you should be grateful that they are willing to interview you in addition to your discovery of their personality and talents. This can ensure that you really need their services and not simply those of a contractor or gardener. You should be ready and willing to honestly answer any questions they might have as well as to share your vision while remaining open to their professional opinions.

    You’re not the only one who can determine whether or not you and a Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designer are the right fit for each other. A trained designer with field experience can usually judge whether the client-professional relationship is going to succeed from that very first interaction and can be a great help to you as you make your decision.

    The Practice of Landscape Design

    Now that you’ve selected your Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designer, it is a essential to have a clue as to what happens next. While not every designer works the same, there are fundamentals to designing a landscape that should show up in the design process. They are as follows:

    • First Interview: This meeting happens at your outdoor space and allows the designer to take a broad overview of the challenges and possibilities of your project. From this meeting, a tentative proposal for design and a budget should be able to be drafted.
    • Questionnaire: Most designers will have a series of detailed questions that they want you to spend a little time with to help them with starting the design of your dreams. They want to be as clear as they can be when beginning the detailed drawings.
    • Proposal: The plan begins with deciding where all major elements are going to be located (things like water features, walkways, major garden plots, etc.).
    • Planting Plan: Just what it sounds like—this part of the plan has to do with every living thing included in the final plan, including placement, type and quantity.
    • Master Plan Development: The final and complete design including all elements (hard and soft scape) as well as estimated installation time and cost predictions. This is what you will take to different contractors for bids on the actual installation of the landscape.

    Most designers will be able to help you locate trustworthy landscape contractors in your area, including the cities of Aromas, Bolsa Knolls, Neponset, Tres Pinos and Santa Rita. If not, remember Diamond Certified is here to help you with that step as well.

    Profits from Working with Monterey and San Benito Counties Landscape Designers

    You may be speculating about the benefits you’ll receive from hiring a Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designer and worrying that it may be an unnecessary expense. However there are many benefits that make the process of hiring and working with a landscape designer completely worth it. First, the designer will provide you with a comprehensive design that you can then take to different contractors so that they are all bidding on the same project. If you skip the design step, each of these contractors will charge you planning time to even give you an installment estimate. You’ll save money in the hiring process and the installing process because you will know exactly what you’re planning on.

    Second, a landscape designer will take the time to hear your dreams and desires and put them into a usable plan for your outdoor space. They are trained and have experience in both the horticultural and design sides of the process and their expertise is not something you want to live without when planning for your new and improved yard.

    Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designers, whether you live in the larger cities of Seaside, Soledad, Pacific Grove, King City and Carmel-by-the-Sea and San Juan Bautista or the smaller towns of Jamesburg, Logan, Plaskett, Sand City and Welby, hold a wealth of knowledge when it comes to hiring a good contractor. If you are industrious in your search, you should be able to locate a designer who has a good working relationship with a reliable contractor who will be able to implement the design efficiently and effectively. Plus, your designer will provide advice along the way so that you are never trying to figure out the process by yourself.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    How Can You Be an Excellent Monterey and San Benito Counties Landscape Designer Customer?

    It's the landscape designer’s responsibility to design quality landscapes using the best possible techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your landscape designer, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designer.

    • Be clear with the designer. Let them know what you want from your design, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
    • Before you hire a landscape designer in Monterey and San Benito Counties, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the landscape design representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local landscape designers occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your landscape designer if you should call to check on the progress or if he/she will call you with updates.
    • Make sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re designing. The work will move along more smoothly if your landscape designer can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • When your designer contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the design on schedule.
    • Pay for the landscape design work promptly.

    Why would you want to try to be a good customer? Landscape designers in Monterey and San Benito Counties appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

    Paying a Landscape Designer in Monterey and San Benito Counties

    Most landscape designers bill their clients in one of two ways. One, by an agreed-upon project price. This would include the consultation, time spent preparing the plan and for the rights to the final design. Two, they can charge separately for each piece of the puzzle, including a set cost for the initial interview, an hourly rate for the time spent designing and another set amount for the rights to the master plan.

    Most landscape designers do charge a down payment so as to protect themselves from doing a lot of work and having a client decide they don’t actually need or want their services. You should be wary of anyone who wants more than 10% of the total estimated cost of design.

    Also, be sure to figure out whether or not it is standard practice for the Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designer to work within a contract. You have the right to request a contract and refuse to work with a designer who does not provide one. Contracts should include all the basic information about the landscape designer as well as provide contingencies for anything that may be subject to a change in price as you move through the process of creating a complete design. Remember, if your landscape designer doesn’t offer one up to begin with, request one and move on if one is not provided. 

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Check The Work
Top Six Designs Used by Monterey and San Benito Counties Landscape Designers

Landscape designers are not only trained to pay attention to and interpret your landscaping wants and needs, they are also very skilled at getting those ideas on to paper and in to a plan that outlines the project, the lay of the land and the color palette. A structured and pre-planned design helps save everyone time and money as you move to the installation phase of your landscape. You’ll find it helpful to understand the most common types of design plans used by Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designers.

Landscape designers are not only trained to pay attention to and interpret your landscaping wants and needs, they are also very skilled at getting those ideas on to paper and in to a plan that outlines the project, the lay of the land and the color palette. A structured and pre-planned design helps save everyone time and money as you move to the installation phase of your landscape. You’ll find it helpful to understand the most common types of design plans used by Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designers.

Site Investigation: A diagram outlining the structures and elements that are currently present and will affect the final design.

Bubble Plan: A simplified plan that uses bubbles to denote different areas of the landscape design including gardens, water features, etc. This design can also include bubbles to show where the best views are located, utility features and other areas of focus for the final landscape.

Plot Plan: An overarching design of all features, structures, layouts and measurements of final landscape.

Concept Images: Photographic examples of all features detailed in a plot plan to give the client more of an understanding of what the final landscape will actually look like.

Designer Renderings: A plan that either the designer draws or crafts using a computer program to show color, texture, lighting and shading of the final landscape design.

Planting Plan: A detailed, labeled plan showing all areas included in the softscape of the final landscape design. This will often include the number of plants to be purchased and the specific types to be utilized.

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Written Warranties
The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee

Diamond Certified landscape designers are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the landscape designer is Diamond Certified and you can’t solve the issue by talking with the designer or his/her boss if applicable, contact the mediation department at [email protected] or call 800-738-1138.

Simple Ways to End Conflicts with Monterey and San Benito Counties Landscape Designers

Diamond Certified landscape designers are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the landscape designer is Diamond Certified and you can’t solve the issue by talking with the designer or his/her boss if applicable, contact the mediation department at [email protected] or call 800-738-1138.

Simple Ways to End Conflicts with Monterey and San Benito Counties Landscape Designers

Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractors usually have your best interests in mind and want a positive outcome for your outdoor space as much as you do. But in some cases, despite your best efforts, problems can occur. Remember that communication is key—always attempt to clarify any questions or concerns you have along the way.

Of course, problems can sometimes arise no matter how much you may communicate all the way along, but you can sometimes stop a problem from developing by remembering the following pointers:

  1. Stay calm, rational and polite.
  2. If it is a larger company and there is a supervisor to speak with, request a meeting between you, the designer and that person.
  3. Have a detailed outline of your complaint and expectations ready to present.
  4. Be willing to compromise to a mutually agreed upon outcome and let the company know it.

If none of these measures work and your landscape designer belongs to a professional organization, such as the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, contact the organization to file a formal complaint.

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Top 10 Requests
Top Six Designs Used by Monterey and San Benito Counties Landscape Designers

Landscape designers are not only trained to pay attention to and interpret your landscaping wants and needs, they are also very skilled at getting those ideas on to paper and in to a plan that outlines the project, the lay of the land and the color palette. A structured and pre-planned design helps save everyone time and money as you move to the installation phase of your landscape. You’ll find it helpful to understand the most common types of design plans used by Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape designers.

Site Investigation: A diagram outlining the structures and elements that are currently present and will affect the final design.

Bubble Plan: A simplified plan that uses bubbles to denote different areas of the landscape design including gardens, water features, etc. This design can also include bubbles to show where the best views are located, utility features and other areas of focus for the final landscape.

Plot Plan: An overarching design of all features, structures, layouts and measurements of final landscape.

Concept Images: Photographic examples of all features detailed in a plot plan to give the client more of an understanding of what the final landscape will actually look like.

Designer Renderings: A plan that either the designer draws or crafts using a computer program to show color, texture, lighting and shading of the final landscape design.

Planting Plan: A detailed, labeled plan showing all areas included in the softscape of the final landscape design. This will often include the number of plants to be purchased and the specific types to be utilized. 

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Lanscape Designers & Consultant Terms

Landscape designers often use very specific and technical language to describe their process and to accomplish your design. The following list of terms should help you feel more comfortable when conversing with your chosen landscape designer.

base plan
A plan showing site boundaries and features, used as a basis for further development.

built environment
A man-made creation or alterations to an outdoor space, including its natural resources.

Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD)
A digital design program that produces precise plans for landscaping projects.

contour
The form of the land. Contour lines are map lines which are used to show and measure slope and drainage.

conservation plan
A plan for protecting natural or manufactured resources. Used as a tool in making decisions regarding soil, water, vegetation, manufactured objects and other resources.

design
The creative illustration, planning and specification of outdoor space for utility, value and beauty.

drainage
Where water escapes from a land surface or subsurface, through sewers or natural means.

easement
The legal grant to use an area of designated property.

grade
How the land slopes. Grading is the process of changing the degree of the slope in order to promote drainage and landscape design.

hardscape
Things that are added to a landscape, such as paving stones, gravel, walkways, irrigation systems, roads, retaining walls, sculpture, street amenities, fountains, etc.

landscape
The amount of land that can be seen at a glance.

landscape architect
A licensed professional who designs outdoor spaces from whole ecosystems to residential sites

Also known as:  planner, consultant

landscape architecture
The science and art of design of the land involving natural and built elements and concern for resource conservation to improve outdoor spaces. Effective landscape architecture makes the most of the land, adds value to a project and minimizes costs, all while minimizing negative effects to nature.

landscape contractor
A trained installer of landscapes who implements the plans of landscape architects.

landscape designer
An unlicensed person in the landscaping business who designs outdoor spaces.

manipulation of space
The organization of land for aesthetic or functional design. Refers to the building of small backyard patios to huge urban plazas.

master plan
An initial plan showing proposed development. Master plans show phases of work needing to be completed and are therefore subject to changes over time.

natural resources
Elements naturally occurring in an area that can be used to fulfill human needs, including air, soil, water, native vegetation, etc.

site plan
A drawing including dimensions that indicates the form and physical objects existing in an outdoor space and those still to be built.

softscape
The naturally occurring elements landscape architects work with, such as plant materials.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions For Landscape Designers & Consultants

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified landscape designer?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a landscape designer with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only landscape designers rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified landscape designer.

Q: What services can a landscape designer deliver?
A: A good landscape designer will be able to hear your vision and provide insight on what can work with your space. They will craft a plan that fits your specific needs and vision. Working with you, they will design an outdoor space that will be both functional and satisfying.

Q: When should we hire a landscape designer?
A: As soon as you are dedicated to landscaping your space, which means you need to know what you don’t like about your current yard and what you would want installed to make it more enjoyable, then you are ready to begin your search. Hiring a landscape designer early in the process can help you keep from making costly mistakes and heightens the chances that you will be pleased with the final outcome.

Q: How can I make sure I am hiring the best possible landscape designer for me?
A: Seeking out a Diamond Certified landscape designer is always the best place to begin. Beyond that you should ask around to see if any family, friends, neighbors or co-workers have hired designers that they would recommend. It is essential to hire a designer who is familiar with the type of project you are looking to complete. Pay attention to the services and experience of every company you interview.

Q: What is the best indicator that I have hired the right landscape designer?
A: Research indicates that the number one way people can tell they will be satisfied with the final results of their landscaping project is whether or not they were able to communicate effectively with the landscape designer from the beginning of their professional relationship. Your designer should make you feel comfortable to bring up any questions or concerns that arise along the way. In addition, you should be confident that your landscape designer understands from the outset what you believe your transformation should look like. Ask many clarifying questions as you work on a plan together to make sure that you are on the same wavelength as your designer.

Q: How much expense will hiring a landscape designer add to my project?
A: You will pay for the knowledge and ideas of a landscape designer, but hiring the right one can in fact save you a lot of money. The expertise you pay for will let you know exactly what features your outdoor space is suited for and you can achieve a design that will actually work for your yard. You won’t waste nearly as much money and they can also help you seriously reduce maintenance costs following the installation of a well-planned landscape because they understand the type of plants and design that will flourish in your space.

Q: How do landscape designers charge?
A: Landscape designers can charge based on time it takes to design a project or an agreed-upon project fee. You should be clear on how a designer charges before you enter into a professional relationship with them, ask for a detailed estimate and always work under a specified contract.

Q: What is my role in working with a designer to plan a landscape for my space?
A: You will need to clearly share your design wants, decide on a workable budget and provide insight into how the design will affect the livability and enjoyment of your space. A trustworthy designer will communicate with you throughout the process and be available to lend advice and design suggestions. You need to feel like a partner in the process and informed along the way.

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